January is Self-love month. And if it weren’t, I, Queen Mama Donna, would declare it so! So for the rest of the month I will focus on the ways that we can show love and support to ourselves.
There is only one person who is absolutely guaranteed to be with you loyally every day until you die. So you might as well live her! Will you join me in showering your Self with love starting right now?
Betty Friedan: “It’s easier to live through someone else than to become complete yourself.”
It’s in women’s genes how to spoon the medicine down gently, be tender with our touch, and listen with our whole bodies, not just our ears. We must become women who listen to our own needs and desires, and meet them with tenderness and grace. We deserve the tender touch, the listening ear and the gentle medicine. To be tender towards ourselves and learn self care is a great challenge for some souls. Maybe we are still enjoying the comfort of taking care of husband and children instead of being complete in ourselves? Maybe those of us who work on daily self-care, are also hungry to make a difference in our worlds? How are we tender towards ourselves while being fierce in our determination to stand up for ourselves? Who are our role models for creating a new story, a new balance of grace and wrath?
Daily self-care can be hard at first. The first step is defining both what we need and what makes us happy. When we have taken care of others for most of our lives, how do we know what we need? When we are asked what we want and we defer to someone else by saying, “whatever you want is fine with me” we cannot know what will make us happy. Defining what we need and what makes us happy is a process. We can begin the process of learning self-care through books, going to seminars, choosing different friends, attending 12 step programs or seeing a therapist. We don’t have to chart the way to self-care alone. We don’t have to jump into being spiritual activists; we can take time to nurture ourselves, time to give ourselves the listening ear, and the tender touch. That in of itself can be a radical act.
Learning to be a complete and whole woman has been my lifelong journey. I don’t know whether what I am doing is right; I only know what feels right in this moment. How I do self-care, listen to my intuition, and act creatively may look very different to you, the reader. I only know that the rage I feel towards injustice in the world only circles around and bites me in the ass. When I am enraged I become depressed and beat on myself, and then it takes time to come out of that hole. As part of my daily self-care I am learning to take my anger and transform it through creativity. I write poetry, blogs, and essays in an effort to distill words into the creative intelligence of wrath. Part of my daily lesson is to see that the more I am tender and respectful of myself, the easier it is for me to be creative.
We must find our way to be a woman who meets her needs with tenderness and grace. Fortunately we are not alone in this journey. Each day there are more women who want to feel complete, who are taking the first steps in learning self-care. We follow in the footsteps of friends who treat themselves tenderly. We are women treating ourselves with grace and respect while watching other women around us saying, “Now, that I can care for myself, I want to make a difference around me.” We can follow in the footsteps of the spiritual activists who have gone before us. Where are you in the process of learning self-care? Imagine yourself, today, a woman who treats herself with respect, tenderness, and grace.
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to email@example.com.